VANITY FAIR
The Powerhouse – PJ Harvey
(The Music Portfolio)
November 2000
Photographed by Mary Ellen Mark in New York City on July 27, 2000.


234E-POL-001
PJ Harvey, songwriter, guitarist. Six albums.

PJ Harvey is the Emily Bronte of rock’n’roll: her work is foreboding, intricately designed, and, at times, just a little out of control. Like the author of Wuthering Heights, Polly Jean grew up in the English countryside –in a hamlet just outside of Yeovil- and spent her childhood in what she describes as a “hippie household.” She was familiar with the music of Captain Beefheart and John Lee Hooker at an early age, and so, for her, coming up with a rough, distinctive sound rooted in the blues was second nature. There are no wasted notes or excessive rock’n’roll gestures on her two finest albums, To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire? The music on those records is strict, perfectly crafted, and pared down –but still beautiful and charged with emotion. Last year she spent six months living and writing in New York. On her new album, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, you can hear what it sounds like when a furiously intelligent, iconoclastic country lass puts herself to the test in the city of gridlock and glamour.

Photographed by Mary Ellen Mark in New York City on July 27, 2000.

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